Ham and Fig Pie
Boil the ham with a large number of dried figs and 3 bay leaves. Remove the skin and make diagonal incisions into the meat. Pour in honey. Then make a dough of oil and flour and wrap the ham in it. Take it out of the oven when the dough is cooked and serve.
(Giacosa, pp. 96-97)
2 lb’s pork 3 bay leaves 3 C dried figs
½ C honey
2 C wine (or more to cover pork)
Everything is gathered close to the stove after a quick trip to the garden for bay leaves.
I then decide I want to be more Roman then the recipe calls for. I decide to boil the pork meat in wine/water mixture for a more depth in flavor.
The wine used is a sweet red. In period this could have been a natural sweet red or a red wine in which honey was added to. (Giacosa/Faas)
Once the bay leaves have been bruised and dropped into the wine, I add the figs pork and honey for a long slow cooking. I like to simmer this for 1.5 -2 hours for a very tender bit of pork. You can eat this after an hour if you just can’t wait.
Once the pork has been thoroughly cooked, the pork and fig in wine dish can be served as is OR wrapped in a pastry. If you go with serving this as a meat and fig dish After the pork is cooked, the meat is pulled from the pot then set on the cutting board.
I have done both. However I have to say my favorite is pork and fig in a pastry shell. So again I got a bit creative. This is an oil based pastry shell. Since doing this recipe I’ve run into a butter pastry crust that I think is so much better. The crust though is up to the cook. Use a crust you like and run with it.
Here I am using a dish that has indentations at the bottom for the pastry shells. The recipe actually calls for making a wrapped almost modern day pastie or pastry pocket. For display purposes I wanted some thing that would show the individual ingredients in each pastry shell. So I took the pastry and made small pastry cups in this wonderful dish (pre-oiled) then put in the chopped porksand figs. (These cups are not very big and I did not chop the pork very small to start with when cooking hence the re-sizing after cooking)
The dish is then put in the oven for roughly 30 minutes at 350. (or till the crust is a toasty gold).
While these pastry shells are very very rustic, I think this makes an elegant dish. I enjoy the tastiness of a well made pastry wrapped around meaty honey/wine sweetness of the pork and figs.